Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

Fasting Devotion, Day Fifteen

Galatians 5:13-26

Have you ever seen someone who looks absolutely miserable and then spoken to them and realise they are actually quite enjoyable and happy? I used to have a friend who would say, “Are you happy? Then, tell your face!”

Sometimes our outside isn’t a true reflection of what’s happening on our inside. Remember the kids’ song, “If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it…?” Our countenance SHOULD reflect the joy of the Lord. People SHOULD notice something different about the way we carry ourselves as Christians. Negative Facebook posts, complaining, gossiping, and an overall grim outlook on life are oxymoronic for Christ-followers.

We all have bad days! We all have moments when we just feel we need to “VENT!’ But let us not forget our body language and faces reflect the beauty of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is:

LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, and SELF-CONTROL.

Those traits LOOK like something! Just like you can pick an apple from an apple tree because there are apples growing on it, people can pick what sort of person we are by what comes out of our lives. As we continue to press into all God has for us in 2014, let’s focus on the fruit in our lives and reap a plentiful harvest by which everyone around us can partake!

God, you are so magnificent and wonderful. Thank you for creating me in your image. I ask that every area of my life reflect the fruit of the spirit so others will be drawn to you through my actions, words, and expressions. Forgive me for the times I fall short of displaying your glory. Give me courage and strength to trust you and remain joyful despite difficult circumstances I may be facing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Australia, Inspiration, Uncategorized

Patient Endurance

I can quote all kinds of phrases about success being a journey and not a destination.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  Life’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Yet, when it comes to a big goal in life, I’m tempted to let the overwhelming process cause me to give up on my dreams.  How do we bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be?

One

day

at

a

time.

When I think about living in Australia, my brain gets bombarded with questions:

  • How are we going to get people to come to our house for church?
  • Will we ever have enough people to launch a real service?
  • Who will lead worship for us so its not cheesy?
  • Where is the money going to come from?
  • Will I need to get a job and if so, what will I even do?
  • Not to mention, “Where are we going to live?” and “what school is my kid going to go to?”

God clearly spoke and reminded me to take it

one

day

at

a

time.

He encouraged me that how we got where we are today wasn’t through some out of body experience that promoted us to “leader status.”  We got here one choice at a time.  Handling the small stuff each and every day brings progress.  After each of my three pregnancies, I gained 50 pounds; I wanted to lose weight immediately after I gave birth and ran a couple of miles.  Instead, it took nine months!  Early in our marriage, Greg and I were in heaps of credit card debt.  I wanted to get on a budget for a few months and see it all magically disappear.  Instead, a couple of years of strict financial discipline and working hard to earn extra money finally allowed us to pay it all off.

Think of this: the same logic we use to justify a bad decision can be used to gain positive momentum in life.  For example, I can look at a bowl of ice cream and say, “it’s just one bowl.  Eating it will not make me gain five pounds” (bad decision).  Or, I can look at it and say, “it’s just one bowl.  But, I’m not gonna eat it.”  If I do that consistently for a few weeks, I’ll lose five pounds.  The problem is, instant gratification often overrides this logic.  Instead of convincing ourselves that “a little bit won’t hurt” why not say “a little bit WILL help?”

The phrase “good things come to those who wait” is partially misleading. I guess it applies if you’re talking about standing in line to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Following the crowd mindlessly will eventually lead you to the ride.

For everything else in life, there’s work in the waiting.  While we are waiting to launch Lift Church, we are working hard.  There’s not much I can do today grow Lift Church, but I CAN grow myself.

Who we area today, is a direct result of the choices we have made over time.  The great news is: the person I want to become doesn’t depend on finding a genie in a bottle or winning the lottery.  I just have to work on today. Planting a church in Australia isn’t happening overnight.  The way we are going to get there is

one

day

at

a

time.

We will work while we are waiting.  Everyday, I spend time with God.  Everyday I pray.  Everyday I read my Bible.  Everyday I take care of my physical body through exercise and healthy eating.  Every paycheck, I tithe.   Discipline, praying for God’s favor, serving people, making the phone calls to raise money, keeping our family life a priority, networking.   Even when we don’t feel like it.  Day by day.  Little by little.  One bite at a time.  I’ve spent the last 35 years doing that.  So, today, I’ll just do it again. And tomorrow more of the same. And when worry or fear creeps up, I’ll just do it anyway.  And then, one day, I’m gonna wake up and realize, we have a church!

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

church, Church planting, religious, Timing, Uncategorized

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

“Hurry up and wait” is the phrase that I seem to live by these days.  We have prepared as much as we can thus far in our journey: Visa application submitted, trip to OZ budgeted and planned for this week, house for sale, de-cluttering in progress, video being made for our fund-raising when we get home… medical checks done.

The future seems so clear on one hand, yet so muddy on the other.  We know where we will be in a couple of years. I can envision living in Newcastle with an awesome church that is growing and thriving.  The kids are loving their schools and life is great.  Brett knows how to surf, we spend holidays with our family, Sam has an Aussie accent and I can drive on the left side of the road confidently.  I have a permanent visa to live in Australia as long as I want and our vision continues to grow for all that God wants to do in and through our family and church.  Life is good!

I know some of the steps that are going to have to happen before we get to that place.  It’s the timeline that’s muddy.  I know our house in Texas will sell eventually.  I know we will put our belongings into a 20 ft crate and ship it overseas.  We will say our goodbyes to family and friends.  We will have raised $100K for our church.  We will rent a house in Australia.  We will buy a car (or two).  We will start our church with an amazing launch team of people who feel called to help us get it off the ground.  We will have a website and a logo.  You get the point.

The hard part is that I really have no control over so many of these steps.  It’s the same for all of us.  We have vision and dreams for our future.  We know where we’d like to be in 5 years.  The questions is, “How do we get there?”

Every significant person in the Bible faced a situation full of unknowns.  Just think about Noah building that ark for a few decades when there was no rain in sight!  The good news is that juxtaposed with unknowns is our God who knows everything.   The Alpha and Omega, our God prepares the way.  Just like He prepared the way for Jesus through John the Baptist. God sent the wise men on a journey with provision for Jesus in Bethlehem long before he was actually born.

He sent Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt while they were still in slavery.  Boaz was ready and waiting for Ruth once she took a risk and left home with her mother-in-law Naomi.

Every time I start to get impatient or worry about how the details are all going to fall into place for us to get settled in Australia, I’m reminded of this trend!  I’m reminded about every phase of my life up until now and how there has always been a season of preparation and waiting before actually eating of the fruit.

We all know you plant a seedling and it takes decades to grow into a shady tree.  We understand pregnancy takes nine months.  We tell our kids “good things come to those who wait.”  Every athlete works and prepares long before a national championship.

Waiting and preparing is oftentimes the hardest part.  I will not be disqualified because I quit.  I won’t miss out on important lessons I need to learn before we step into the big shoes of being Senior Pastors.  I will take each day as it comes and cross off the items on my to-do list without stressing over the items carried over to tomorrow.  I will wait with excitement upon the Lord to open each door He has for us.